Address: Piaţa Eftimie Murgu, Nr. 2, 300041, Timisoara
Head of Discipline
The discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany was founded in 1991, with the establishment of the specialization “Pharmacy” as a section of the Faculty of Medicine. Until the end of 2004, the teaching and scientific activity was coordinated by Prof. univ. Dr. Ioan Coste, a prestigious teacher who instilled in his collaborators and students a special appreciation for the Plant Kingdom and medicinal plants. Currently, the activity of the discipline is under the coordination of Prof. univ. Diana S. Antal, PhD. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy in Timisoara. She specialized in phytochemistry at the Institute of Pharmacy in Innsbruck (Austria), acquiring practical skills in isolating active substances from plants, elucidating their chemical structure using spectroscopic methods (1D and 2D NMR, LC-MS) and validating HPLC methods for analysis of extracts. The scientific activity is mirrored by books and chapters in specialized books, ISI indexed articles, papers presented at scientific events, as well as the activity within research grants.
The educational offer of the discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany includes courses and laboratory practice within the programs Pharmacy, Pharmacy Assistance and Medical Cosmetics. The subjects taught are:
- Pharmaceutical Botany – year I Pharmacy, semesters I and II, Romanian and French series
- Cellular and molecular biology – year I Pharmacy, first semester, Romanian and French series
- Pharmaceutical mycology (optional) – year I Pharmacy, first semester, Romanian and French series
- Medicinal plants – year I Pharmacy assistance, first semester
- Cellular and molecular biology – year I Pharmacy assistance, second semester
- Medicinal plants – year I Medical cosmetics, first semester
- Products of plant origin in cosmetics – year I Pharmacy assistance
- Cellular and molecular biology (optional) – year I year I Medical cosmetics, first semester
The discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany also provides courses and laboratory practice within the master’s program of the Faculty of Pharmacy “Formulation and evaluation of the dermato-cosmetic product”.
Within the discipline there is the possibility to carry out doctoral studies, Prof. Antal having a certificate of habilitation in the field of Pharmacy (OM 3829/4.06.2018). She is affiliated to the Doctoral School of UMFVBT.
Objectives of the discipline. The subject of Pharmaceutical botany aims to transmit students knowledge about plants of pharmaceutical interest. The course and the laboratory practice from the first semester have as objective the presentation of the composition of the plant organism, an important source of pharmacologically active substances. The specificities of the plant cell are explained, followed by the presentation of structures involved in the biosynthesis and storage of the active compounds, the morphology and the anatomy of the plant organs, as well as the specialized terms used to characterize the medicinal plants.
In the second semester, the main plant species supplying drugs are presented, in terms of taxonomic affiliation, biological characteristics, part used, chemical composition, action and use. The laboratory practice focuses on learning the techniques of plant determination.
The skills acquired by students include the use of microscopy techniques to identify medicinal plant species (with applications in quality control of plant products), and knowledge of the most important plants of pharmaceutical interest. The aim is for the student to be able to recognize, in fresh or herbal form, the main plants used medicinally, and to distinguish them from toxic species or without therapeutic value with a similar appearance (but inferior in quality or representing falsifications).
The knowledge of the main medicinal species as well as the whole set of knowledge taught in the discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany contributes to the formation of the vocabulary specific to the profession.
Within the undergraduate medical and master’s degree programs (Formulation and evaluation of the dermatocosmetic product) the aim is to present the main plant species of dermatocosmetic interest. Students gain knowledge that provides a scientific basis for the use of phytopreparations with adequate efficiency, composition and quality for dermatocosmetic purposes. Undesired effects of plants and plant products on the skin are also explained.
In the subject Cellular and Molecular Biology, students learn fundamental aspects of cell morphology, the composition and function of cellular components. The cellular functional mechanisms are presented, the molecular basis of the interaction between cellular structures and drugs, respectively their detoxification. The specific objectives include the acquisition of practical skills in fundamental techniques of cell study (microscopy, in vitro culture) in order to use them in medical-pharmaceutical research.
The fields of research in which the staff of the discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany are involved include:
Investigation of ethnopharmaceutical heritage in the west of the country. The study of the tradition phytotherapy has allowed, worldwide, the discovery of valuable drugs of plant origin – anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, anti-dementive etc. Plants and other categories of living organisms are, even today, in the age of chemical synthesis, major sources for the discovery of new active substances. Folk medicine provides important preliminary data on the possible use of plants – thus, its investigation is one of the fundamental steps in the discovery of new therapeutic active substances.
The study of extracts and natural compounds obtained from smoketree (Cotinus coggygria Scop.), a shrub from the Anacardiaceae family, known in traditional medicine for its healing effect. The anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects of the plant and some innovative derivatives are were evaluated in the bilateral project Romania-France PNII-CT-789 / 30.06.2014 «Nanostructures with aurons, chalcone and standardized plant extracts: development of a new prototype chemopreventive and anti-inflammatory agent».
Investigating the action of plant extracts and bioactive plant compounds in metabolic syndrome. Natural products have favourable effects on several components of the metabolic syndrome (obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension). In this sense, secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, stilbenes and phenol-carboxylic acids can be exemplified.
Highlighting cellular and histological structures with a role in biosynthesis and storage of active principles in medicinal plants. These researches are carried out with the active participation of the students with the diploma thesis at the discipline of Pharmaceutical Botany.
Students can access original photos of medicinal plants in their natural state, of herbarium specimens, as well as of cross-sections.
Stevens, P. F. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017
It is the official site of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. Here you can find, under TREES: the cladogram of spermatophytes, the cladograms of all orders, and under APOMORPHIES the distinctive characters of the phylogenetic branches, orders and families, the number of species / genera / families in the order.
‘The International Plant Names Index (2004). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org.
It is a database containing the name and basic bibliographic details for all cormophytes.
The official website of The World Conservation Union, the world’s leading environmental conservation network, bringing together 83 states, 197 government agencies, more than 1,200 non-governmental agencies and over 18,000 scientists in a single partnership.
Information can be found on protected plants, their area, habitat loss, etc.
Official website of the Society of Medicinal Plant Research
database with scanned images from Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen: excellent schematic drawings, with representative details of leaves, flowers, fruits.
The Internet Directory of Botany
It is an extensive index of the addresses of several hundred organic sites.